Holiday cottages given widespread community support

Gary Holley in the gardens of his existing luxury holiday rental property St Andrew’s Barn, Necton.

Gary Holley in the gardens of his existing luxury holiday rental property St Andrew’s Barn, Necton. Picture: Gary Holley - Credit: Archant

A proposal to build holiday cottages in a small village has been given widespread support by people across mid-Norfolk ahead of its official hearing.

The planning application for 15 holiday cottages in the village of Beetley was submitted to Breckland Council in November last year and will be discussed by councillors in April.

The application is the second phase of development at Otter's Mead after applicant Gary Holley already gained planning permission for an initial five cottages with an adjoining outdoor swimming pond.

This application proposes adding ten cottages to the site on Elmham Road, along with facilities such as a children's play area and a shop.

Since being submitted it has been backed by more than 300 people through support petitions, as well as the tourism organisation, Visit East Anglia.

Mr Holley says the goal of the scheme is to bring high quality tourist accommodation to the area to help fill the demands brought on by the growing number of tourists visiting the region.

'It's heartening to receive so much local support for Otter's Mead,' he said. 'I'm passionate about establishing something special in Beetley and have spent a lot of time reaching out personally to share my development plans with local people.

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'Many people, the elderly especially, have commented to me that the new amenities, which include a small shop, will put a sense of community back in to the village.'

The development is projected to bring a number of jobs to the area, ranging from cleaning and maintenance roles to administration and retail. The additional tourism could also have the knock on effect of bringing more business to the area.

Paul Sandford, owner of popular Dereham pub The Railway Tavern, wrote in a letter of support: 'It is obvious the developer wants to invest in the local area and create jobs and give new facilities to local people.'

However, some have expressed concerns over the potential increase in traffic. A letter from one resident living on Elmham Road, states: 'The entrance is poor; the road is narrow and already congested at peak times. The thought of encouraging more foot traffic along this section of road is an appalling prospect.'